Blog di Bernardino (Dino) Ciuffetti

19 Mar 14 TSL2561 light sensor on Raspberry pi in C

After I bought a new TSL2561 digital light sensor from Adafruit, I found that the very cool and small device cannot be accessed directly from linux (rasbian doesn’t have it’s kernel module compiled). Since I didn’t want to cross recompile my whole raspberry pi kernel just to have the tsl2563.ko driver enabled, and since it seems that raspbian does not relase genuine kernel headers to just compile custom kernel modules, I decided to write a user space simple library driver in C.

I found out that Adafruit relases proof of concept libraries written in C++ and python to access its hardware devices, the problem is that the c++ version is ready for arduino but it was not so directly usable for my raspberry pi. It also makes use of an adafruit unified sensor library and other external stuff. Since I am too lazy I decided yesterday to write a new simple library in plain C without external dependencies, just ready for my raspberry pi.

This is the arduino version that inspired me:
This is another cool blog post that inspired me (it now seems dead!!):

This is an example:

/* prepare the sensor
(the first parameter is the raspberry pi i2c master controller attached to the TSL2561, the second is the i2c selection jumper)
The i2c selection address can be one of: TSL2561_ADDR_LOW, TSL2561_ADDR_FLOAT or TSL2561_ADDR_HIGH
TSL2561 light1 = TSL2561_INIT(1, TSL2561_ADDR_FLOAT);

/* initialize the sensor */
rc = TSL2561_OPEN(&light1);

/* sense the luminosity from the sensor (lux is the luminosity taken in "lux" measure units)
the last parameter can be 1 to enable library auto gain, or 0 to disable it */
rc = TSL2561_SENSELIGHT(&light1, &broadband, &ir, &lux, 1);



gcc -Wall -O2 -o TSL2561.o -c TSL2561.c
gcc -Wall -O2 -o TSL2561_test.o -c TSL2561_test.c
gcc -Wall -O2 -o TSL2561_test TSL2561.o TSL2561_test.o

The output is like this:

root@rasponi:~/test/gpio# ./TSL2561_test
Test. RC: 0(Success), broadband: 141, ir: 34, lux: 12

As you can see it’s very easy at this point to get the light measures in C. Just include TSL2561.c and TSL2561.h inside your project and use the public APIs to setup and sense the IC.

I decided to release the code with the liberal apache v2 license, so feel free to include it into your commercial projects if you like.

It’s useful for me, and I hope that it can be useful to you too. Obviously it comes with absolutely no warranty.

p.s.1: I left the hardware stuff out of this article (just attach +vcc, gnd and i2c bus to the sensor
p.s.2: you have to load two kernel modules to get i2c bus working on you Raspberry pi:

modprobe i2c_bcm2708
modprobe i2c_dev

Ciao, Dino.


This is an example on how to use all 3 sensors on the same i2c bus:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
#include "TSL2561.h"

int main() {
	int i;
	int rc;
	uint16_t broadband, ir;
	uint32_t lux=0;
	TSL2561 lights[3]; // we can handle 3 sensors
	// prepare the sensors
	// (the first parameter is the raspberry pi i2c master controller attached to the TSL2561, the second is the i2c selection jumper)
	// The i2c selection address can be one of: TSL2561_ADDR_LOW, TSL2561_ADDR_FLOAT or TSL2561_ADDR_HIGH
	// prepare all sensors
	/* cannot assign that way
	lights[0] = TSL2561_INIT(1, TSL2561_ADDR_LOW);
	lights[1] = TSL2561_INIT(1, TSL2561_ADDR_FLOAT);
	lights[2] = TSL2561_INIT(1, TSL2561_ADDR_HIGH);
	// initialize at runtime instead
	lights[0].adapter_nr=1;						// change this according to your i2c bus
	lights[0].sensor_addr=TSL2561_ADDR_LOW;				// don't change this
	lights[0].integration_time=TSL2561_INTEGRATIONTIME_402MS;	// don't change this
	lights[0].gain=TSL2561_GAIN_16X;				// don't change this
	lights[0].adapter_fd=-1;					// don't change this
	lights[0].lasterr=0;						// don't change this
	bzero(&lights[0].buf, sizeof(lights[0].buf));			// don't change this
	lights[1].adapter_nr=1;						// change this according to your i2c bus
	lights[1].sensor_addr=TSL2561_ADDR_FLOAT;			// don't change this
	lights[1].integration_time=TSL2561_INTEGRATIONTIME_402MS;	// don't change this
	lights[1].gain=TSL2561_GAIN_16X;				// don't change this
	lights[1].adapter_fd=-1;					// don't change this
	lights[1].lasterr=0;						// don't change this
	bzero(&lights[1].buf, sizeof(lights[1].buf));			// don't change this
	lights[2].adapter_nr=1;						// change this according to your i2c bus
	lights[2].sensor_addr=TSL2561_ADDR_HIGH;			// don't change this
	lights[2].integration_time=TSL2561_INTEGRATIONTIME_402MS;	// don't change this
	lights[2].gain=TSL2561_GAIN_16X;				// don't change this
	lights[2].adapter_fd=-1;					// don't change this
	lights[2].lasterr=0;						// don't change this
	bzero(&lights[2].buf, sizeof(lights[2].buf));			// don't change this
	// initialize the sensors
	for(i=0; i<3; i++) {
		rc = TSL2561_OPEN(&lights[i]);
		if(rc != 0) {
			fprintf(stderr, "Error initializing TSL2561 sensor %i (%s). Check your i2c bus (es. i2cdetect)\n", i+1, strerror(lights[i].lasterr));
			return 1;
		// set the gain to 1X (it can be TSL2561_GAIN_1X or TSL2561_GAIN_16X)
		// use 16X gain to get more precision in dark ambients, or enable auto gain below
		rc = TSL2561_SETGAIN(&lights[i], TSL2561_GAIN_1X);
		// set the integration time 
		// TSL2561_INTEGRATIONTIME_402MS is slower but more precise, TSL2561_INTEGRATIONTIME_13MS is very fast but not so precise
	// you can now sense each sensor when you like
	for(i=0; i<3; i++) {
		// sense the luminosity from the sensors (lux is the luminosity taken in "lux" measure units)
		// the last parameter can be 1 to enable library auto gain, or 0 to disable it
		rc = TSL2561_SENSELIGHT(&lights[i], &broadband, &ir, &lux, 1);
		printf("Test sensor %i. RC: %i(%s), broadband: %i, ir: %i, lux: %i\n", i+1, rc, strerror(lights[i].lasterr), broadband, ir, lux);
	// when you have finisched, you can close things
	for(i=0; i<3; i++) {
	return 0;

05 Dic 13 As you can see, this site is reachable via IPv6!

If you are using IPv6 (like me) you can see that this blog is reachable via IPv6. Pretty cool!

ipv6 ready

14 Nov 13 LVM Hot backups with snapshot

As you may know, LVM make it possible to create live snapshots of running logical volumes.
Imagine a guest virtual machine that has its virtual disk backed on a LVM logical volume on the host system.
You may create a live hot backup of your virtual machine on the fly, while it is working.

To do this, I created a small script that makes a compressed backup of all the logical volumes on the /dev/vg0 volume group.
The script make use of the standard LVM utilities to have the snapshot, the pv utility to get a cool progress bar and pigz utility to compress (gzip) using all of your processors.
If everything went ok, when the script finishes you’ll find your LVM hot backups on the /backups directory, and the temporary lvm snapshots removed.

This is how I make hot backups of some of my virtual machines (


for lv in `lvdisplay /dev/vg0 | grep ‘LV Name’ | awk ‘{print $3}’`
LV_SIZE=”`lvs –units m –noheadings –nosuffix $lv | cut -d’ ‘ -f7 | cut -d. -f 1`” # LV size in MB
LV_UUID=”`lvdisplay $lv | grep ‘LV UUID’ | awk -F’LV UUID’ ‘{print $2}’ | sed ‘s/^ *//g’`”
LV_SNAPNAME=”SNAP_`basename $lv`”

echo “LVM Logical Volume: $lv”
echo “Size: $LV_SIZE MB”
echo “UUID: $LV_UUID”
echo “Snapshot name: $LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “Removing old snapshot (if any)…”
lvremove -f “/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “Creating snapshot…”
lvcreate -L+2G –snapshot -n”$LV_SNAPNAME” “$lv”
sleep 4
echo “Backing up snapshot…”
dd if=”/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME” bs=512k of=/dev/stdout | pv -pterbW -i 2 –buffer-size 512k –size “$LV_SIZE”m | /usr/bin/pigz -9 -b 256 > “/backups/$”
echo “Removing snapshot…”
lvremove -f “/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “–”


13 Nov 13 Apache HTTPD as 2WAY (mutual) authentication SSL reverse proxy balancer

In this small article I’ll instruct myself (and you too?) how to create a 2 way authentication (mutual authentication) SSL reverse proxy balancer gateway. This configuration is useful in any enterprise environment where it’s requested to separate clients, the frontend and the backend, and when the traffic between clients and the gateway, and between the gateway and the backends must be encrypted.
This also ensure the clients and the backends to be authentic, and avoids Man In The Middle attacks.

Since the reverse proxy is in the middle between the clients and the backends, it’s requested for the clients to send a known client certificate to the gateway (apache), so that the gateway can recognize them. This is done with X509 certificates.
For the same reason, each backend contacted by the gateway is requested to respond with a valid and known server certificate. This is also done with X509 certificates.
Generally, the clients and the backends will also check their peer’s (apache) certificate to be known and valid, so that if someone is going to impersonate the gateway, it will be found and will not be considered authentic.

To do so, we’ll use:

  • apache httpd
  • mod_ssl
  • mod_proxy_balancer + mod_proxy + mod_proxy_http

Everything is done with a simple and single virtualhost in apache to be included in httpd.conf.
A working example is given below (assumes apache to be installed in /opt/apache, working with IP on port 443):

# General setup for the virtual host
DocumentRoot “/opt/apache/htdocs”
CustomLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/ssl_request_%Y%m%d.log 43200” “%t %h %{SSL_PROTOCOL}x %{SSL_CIPHER}x \”%r\” %b”
ErrorLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/error_%Y%m%d.log 43200”
CustomLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/access_%Y%m%d.log 43200” combined

# Enable SSL Server on this virtualhost
SSLEngine on
# Disable SSLv2 in favor of the more robust and secure SSLv3
SSLProtocol all -SSLv2
# List of supported cryptografic server cipher suites

# Apache server certificate
SSLCertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/server.pem”
# Apache server private key
SSLCertificateKeyFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/key.pem”
# Apache server CA certificate (certificate of who released your server certificate)
SSLCertificateChainFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# Client’s CA certificates (list of certificates of who released your client’s certificates)
SSLCACertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# It’s mandatory for apache to authenticate the client’s certificate
SSLVerifyClient require

# Enable SSL Client on this virtualhost (the traffic to the backends can be encrypted)
SSLProxyEngine on
# Apache client CA certificate (certificate of who released your client certificate)
SSLProxyMachineCertificateChainFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# Apache client private key + client certificate (concatenated in a single file)
SSLProxyMachineCertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/client.pem”
# Backends’ CA certificates (list of certificates of who released your backends’ certificates)
SSLProxyCACertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# It’s mandatory for apache to authenticate the backends’ certificate
SSLProxyVerify require

<FilesMatch “\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
<Directory “/opt/apache/cgi-bin”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

BrowserMatch “MSIE [2-5]” \
nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0

# Define a load balancer worker to be used to balance the HTTPS traffic to three backends.
# The traffic between apache and the backends is encrypted
<Proxy balancer://httpslb>
# Define the first backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker1 retry=10
# Define the second backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker2 retry=10
# Define the third backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker3 retry=10

# Don’t send the “/balancer-manager” uri to the backends
ProxyPass /balancer-manager !
# Distribute the traffic (any url, since it is “/”) to the backends with round robin + cookie based session persistence
ProxyPass / balancer://httpslb/ lbmethod=byrequests stickysession=JSESSIONID


If the clients and the backends are configured to check the gateway (apache) certificates, this is considered to be a very secure configuration.


03 Nov 13 SSH connection is slow? Did you try to disable DNS lookups?

If your SSH connection is slow, it may depends on your SSH server that is executing reverse DNS lookups to try to identify your details.

Try setting the parameter below to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config and restart your ssh server daemon:

UseDNS no

It worked perfectly for me, it may work perfectly with you too.

03 Mar 13 How to install php 5.2 on debian squeeze (6.0.x), the debian way

You may know that the PHP version coming with debian squeeze is 5.3. Since the 5.3 version of PHP breaks some compatibility with 5.2 you may find that an old PHP application is no longer working with the new version of PHP on squeeze.
The steps required to install PHP 5.2 on debian squeeze are very simple, you just need to setup APT to install the PHP packages coming with debian lenny.

The first thing to do is to add the lenny repository to the end of /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb lenny main contrib non-free

Then you need to make sure that your favourite PHP packages will be downloaded from lenny instead of squeeze. You can do this creating the file /etc/apt/preferences.d/lenny, with this stuff inside:

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source if the package is not already installed and not available from Squeeze
Package: *
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 100

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source for those packages
Package: libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 999

After that, remove any previously installed PHP 5.3 package, for example with the command

apt-get remove –purge php5\*

and then install the PHP 5.2 packages from lenny:

apt-get update
apt-get clean
apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite

That procedure saved my life twice, I hope it will save yours too!

31 Dic 12 Happy new year!

This is the end of this year. Fuck you 2012, and welcome to 2013!!

02 Dic 12 New NuvolaBase Dashboard

Tonight at 03.00 GTM the NuvolaBase team publicly released the new NuvolaBase Dashboard.
As you may know, with NuvolaBase you can handle your private database on the cloud.

The new dashboard aims to be simple, stable and powerful. You can login using your google, twitter, facebook, linkedin account.
In the next days the NuvolaBase guys will release many new cool features like a powerful REST API to handle your databases in the cloud from your application.

This is the official article on the NuvolaBase blog:

03 Set 12 apache2 + mod_fastcgi + php 5.3 + PHP-FPM

This is a very quick guide to get your feet wet with PHP 5.3 + PHP-FPM fastcgi support and apache webserver.
The PHP-FPM is basically a fastcgi compliant pool of PHP processes spawned on the system, ready to quickly accept connections, for example via TCP. It’s generally used to greatly improove PHP scalability, security and performance.

Start by installing apache, no matter if it’s a binary installation or if it’s compiled from source code (I assume this step is already done).

Once you have a valid apache installation, you need to compile the mod_fastcgi module.
NOTE: don’t use mod_fcgid or any other fastcgi provider but mod_fastcgi: it’s proved to be stable and to work well with PHP-FPM.

To install mod_fastcgi you have to:

  1. download mod_fastcgi:
  2. untar the package, then compile the apache module with: /your_apache_path/bin/apxs -o -c *.c
  3. install the module with: /your_apache_path/bin/apxs -i -a -n fastcgi .libs/

Now, compile PHP with the fpm support, or install a already compiled PHP binary package.

Here I’ll cover how to compile it from source.

Start by downloading the latest php 5.3 version from

When you have done, untar the PHP source package and enter into the extracted php-5.3.x directory.
Now create a file called and put this stuff inside it:

./configure  \
–prefix=/usr/local/php53 \
–with-libdir=lib64 \
–enable-pcntl \
–enable-mbstring=shared \
–enable-mbregex \
–with-gd=shared \
–enable-bcmath=shared \
–with-xmlrpc=shared \
–with-mysql=shared,/usr \
–with-mysqli=shared,/usr/bin/mysql_config \
–enable-dom=shared \
–enable-soap=shared \
–with-xsl=shared,/usr \
–enable-xmlreader=shared –enable-xmlwriter=shared \
–with-pdo-mysql=shared,/usr \
–enable-json=shared \
–enable-zip=shared \
–with-readline \
–with-jpeg-dir=/usr \
–with-png-dir=/usr \
–with-pear \
–with-ldap=shared \
–enable-fpm \
–with-fpm-user=apache \

Your mileage may vary here, so please double check row by row if you need to modify something. The FPM part are the last 3 lines.

NOTE: you cannot compile PHP as FPM and SAPI at the same time.

Now, make the file executable with: chmod 755
and run the executable with: ./

Wait that the configure script is done. If no errors are encountered you can proceed with make and make install as usual.
Remember to create the php.ini configuration file if you need it.
You should now end up with a fresh PHP installation into /usr/local/php53 (or any other path you given to the prefix configure attribute).

Ok, now it’s time to configure the php-fpm (change /usr/local/php53 with your path if it’s different):

cd /usr/local/php53/etc
cp php-fpm.conf.default php-fpm.conf
vi php-fpm.conf

You generally don’t need to modify anything here, but if you want you can touch something.
Now start the php-fpm process pool by running this command by the root user: /usr/local/php53/sbin/php-fpm

If anything gone ok you should have some process up and running, something like this:

25976 ?        Ss     0:00 php-fpm: master process (/usr/local/php53/etc/php-fpm.conf)
4945 ?        S      0:00  \_ php-fpm: pool www
4946 ?        S      0:00  \_ php-fpm: pool www
4947 ?        S      0:00  \_ php-fpm: pool www

If you didn’t modify the php-fpm.conf, the process pool listen for fastcgi requests to TCP

It’s time to configure a apache virtualhost with PHP support using this brand new fpm.

Edit the httpd.conf apache configuration file (or another included file where you store the virtualhost) and append this stuff (I assume that apache is installed into /opt/apache2):

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot “/opt/apache2/htdocs”
ServerName “”
ErrorLog “logs/your_servername-error_log”
CustomLog “logs/your_servername-access_log” common

FastCgiExternalServer /opt/apache2/htdocs/php5.sock -host
AddHandler php5-fcgi .php
Action php5-fcgi /tmp/php5.sock
Alias /tmp /opt/apache2/htdocs

<Directory “/opt/apache2/htdocs”>
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Order deny,allow
Allow from all

Any file whose name ends for “.php” into your document root should now be associated to the PHP fastcgi handler and the requests should be routed to the php-fpm process pool. Each php-fpm process is reused according to the php-fpm.conf configuration file.

Restart apache and enjoy (any comment are welcome).

18 Mag 12 The OrientDB 1.0 stable is finally there!

Congratulation to Luca Garulli and his dev team to the public release of OrientDB 1.0 Stable!
After a year of release candidates and bug fixing it’s finally time to the stable version.
Many may bugs fixed, new indexing algorithms, improved clustering with multi master replication, new Object Database interface with lazy object loading, new studio (web interface) and much more.

The community is growing fast and people get rapidly moving to new technologies.
Words like nosql, object and graph databases, cloud and mobile are big buzzwords of nowadays.

If you didn’t already, subscribe to the orientdb mailinglist to get in touch: